Carolyn Klyce

Contributed by John E. Davis.

Carolyn Klyce joined the Student Health Coalition after her Junior year at Vanderbilt University. During the summer of 1970, she was teamed with Dick Burr, working as a community organizer in Morgan County, Tenn. The two of them helped local residents prepare for the health fair in Deer Lodge and then arranged for follow-up after the health fair was over, assisting people to find treatment for various maladies their medical exams had uncovered. Carolyn and Dick also supported the community-based health council in Morgan County in their endeavors to establish a primary care clinic there.

In 1971, Carolyn served as one of the Coalition’s overall coordinators, along with Rick Davidson. According to Rick, Carolyn “wrote much of the grant we used to get ARC [Appalachian Regional Commission] money that allowed us to expand that year.” The grant totaled $110,000, an enormous amount for a student-organized, student-run project. Because of ARC’s support, the number of people recruited to work for the SHC grew from 40 in the summer of 1970 to 100 during the following summer. The number of health fairs grew as well, with the Coalition sometimes running two health fairs simultaneously and getting involved in a greater number of Appalachian communities than the year before.

Dick Burr, who had worked with Carolyn during their first summer with the Student Health Coalition, described her special qualities this way:

“She was quiet and thoughtful, but joyful. When we ate sweet corn on the porch of the little building that we worked out of in Deer Lodge, when Bonnie McWorter brought us corn, she and Bonnie would tell stories about each other’s lives and just laugh and cough and hug each other. Carolyn related extremely well, particularly with women.

It was her kindness and joyfulness, I think, that drew people in . . . . Between the two of us, she was better organized. She kept track of what we were doing each day. She sent me where I was supposed to go – and had directions for how to get there.

I didn’t remember that she became the coordinator the second year, but I’m not surprised. She was quite gifted. She would have been a great film producer: keeping track of everything; keeping people on track; keeping everything moving in the best direction possible.”

Subsequent to the summer of 1971, Carolyn worked in social medicine for several years before taking a position in the President’s office at the Field Museum in Chicago. She later returned to school, earning a Masters degree in Early Childhood Education. She was a teacher of children with developmental disabilities at the Yeager School in North Chicago until her early death at age 62. Her obituary read, in part:

“Carolyn was a kind, generous, and loving person. . . . Her pursuits in life mirrored the person she was: always wanting to do for others, creating a positive impact on the world, and making a difference.”

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